Types of Water Heater Timers

Written by antonio estevez
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Types of Water Heater Timers
Water heater timers save energy. (money, money, money image by easaab from Fotolia.com)

A water heater timer is a device that automatically switches an electric water heater on and off during specific times of the day. These energy savers can be purchased for as little as £32 in 2010 and can reduce your energy bill between 5 and 12 per cent. When considering which type of water heater timer is right for you, be sure to take your daily consumption habits into consideration, note the operating voltage of your electric heater and also the location of your storage tank.

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Box Timers

Box timers are the most common form of water heater timers on the market. Available from 120 volts to 270 volts, these timers are configured with either digital or mechanical controls. Digital box timers often have built-in emergency batteries that power the unit if an outage occurs. Mechanical box timers usually do not have this feature. Some models feature an override switch to resume regular functioning. Box timers for outdoor use are housed in "rain tight" plastic to prevent damage. All box timers can be mounted near the storage tank and installed indoors and outdoors relatively easily.

Digital Programmable Timers

Digital programmable timers commonly operate at 110 volts and are designed for indoor use only. This type of timer is wall-mounted, away from the storage tank, and often placed near the climate controls for quick access. Easy-to-read LED displays and stylish mounting plates make these water heater timers especially attractive to homeowners. These timers offer a wider range of programmable settings than box timers and can be set for different days of the week. However, digital timers are more difficult to install than box timers--they cannot be directly wired to the storage tank and require additional wiring.

Countdown Timers

Countdown water heater timers come with digital and mechanical dials and reduce costs by allowing you to set a duration of time that hot water is available--ranging from 10 to 60 minutes. This type of timer is useful for situations such as showering and washing clothes where hot water is only needed for a short time. Like digital timers, countdown timers operate at 110 volts, are available with decorative mounting plates, and can be placed near the climate controls, away from the storage tank. These timers cannot be directly wired to the tank.

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